Jude 1:16
These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaks great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Jude 1:16. These are murmurers — Against God and men, never contented with the allotments of Providence, or with the conduct of any about them; complainers Μεμψιμοιροι, literally, complainers of their fate. Some think that the two expressions, murmurers and complainers, are synonymous terms to express the same thought with more strength and emphasis. If there be any difference in their signification, the former may imply their murmuring in general, the other the subject of their murmuring; they complained of their lot and condition in the world, and of the course of Providence. Jude, in writing this, seems to have had his eye upon the murmurings and complainings of the Israelites in the wilderness, which were highly displeasing to God, 1 Corinthians 10:10. And writing, if not chiefly, yet at least in part, to such Christians as had been Jews, he might partly refer to the complaining temper prevalent among the Jews about this time, as Josephus testifies, in which the Judaizing Christians very much resemble them. Walking after their own lusts — Their own foolish and mischievous desires; the source this of their murmuring and complaining. For the plan of the divine government is in favour of piety and virtue: and vice cannot always prosper, or even hope to end well, in such a constitution of things; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words — In praise of themselves, as the only teachers who free men from the shackles of superstition. Or perhaps the apostle means that the false teachers spake in an insolent manner against the Roman magistrates for punishing them, and against the laws for prohibiting the vices in which they delighted. For they are said (Jude 1:8) to despise government, and to revile dignities. And this they might do on pretence of maintaining the cause of the people of God, against the tyranny and oppression of the Romans; having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage — Admiring and commending them only for what they can get.1:8-16 False teachers are dreamers; they greatly defile and grievously wound the soul. These teachers are of a disturbed mind and a seditious spirit; forgetting that the powers that be, are ordained of God, Ro 13:1. As to the contest about the body of Moses, it appears that Satan wished to make the place of his burial known to the Israelites, in order to tempt them to worship him, but he was prevented, and vented his rage in desperate blasphemy. This should remind all who dispute never to bring railing charges. Also learn hence, that we ought to defend those whom God owns. It is hard, if not impossible, to find any enemies to the Christian religion, who did not, and do not, live in open or secret contradiction to the principles of natural religion. Such are here compared to brute beasts, though they often boast of themselves as the wisest of mankind. They corrupt themselves in the things most open and plain. The fault lies, not in their understandings, but in their depraved wills, and their disordered appetites and affections. It is a great reproach, though unjust to religion, when those who profess it are opposed to it in heart and life. The Lord will remedy this in his time and way; not in men's blind way of plucking up the wheat with the tares. It is sad when men begin in the Spirit, and end in the flesh. Twice dead; they had been once dead in their natural, fallen state; but now they are dead again by the evident proofs of their hypocrisy. Dead trees, why cumber they the ground! Away with them to the fire. Raging waves are a terror to sailing passengers; but when they get into port, the noise and terror are ended. False teachers are to expect the worst punishments in this world and in that to come. They glare like meteors, or falling stars, and then sink into the blackness of darkness for ever. We have no mention of the prophecy of Enoch in any other part or place of Scripture; yet one plain text of Scripture, proves any point we are to believe. We find from this, that Christ's coming to judge was prophesied of, as early as the times before the flood. The Lord cometh: what a glorious time will that be! Notice how often the word ungodly is repeated. Many now do not at all refer to the terms godly, or ungodly, unless it be to mock at even the words; but it is not so in the language taught us by the Holy Ghost. Hard speeches of one another, especially if ill-grounded, will certainly come into account at the day of judgment. These evil men and seducers are angry at every thing that happens, and never pleased with their own state and condition. Their will and their fancy, are their only rule and law. Those who please their sinful appetites, are most prone to yield to ungovernable passions. The men of God, from the beginning of the world, have declared the doom denounced on them. Such let us avoid. We are to follow men only as they follow Christ.These are murmurers - The word here used does not elsewhere occur, though the word "murmur" is frequent, Matthew 20:11; Luke 5:30; John 6:41, John 6:43, John 6:61; John 7:32; 1 Corinthians 10:10. Compare John 7:12; Acts 6:1; Philippians 2:14; 1 Peter 4:9. The sense is that of repining or complaining under the allotments of Providence, or finding fault with God's plans, and purposes, and doings.

Complainers - Literally, finding fault with one's own lot (μεμψίμοιροι mempsimoiroi.) The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament; the thing often occurs in this world. Nothing is more common than for men to complain of their lot; to think that it is hard; to compare theirs with that of others, and to blame God for not having made their circumstances different. The poor complain that they are not rich like others; the sick that they are not well; the enslaved that they are not free; the bereaved that they are deprived of friends; the ugly that they are not beautiful; those in humble life that their lot was not cast among the great and the frivolous. The virtue that is opposed to this is "contentment" - a virtue of inestimable value. See the notes at Philippians 4:11.

Walking after their own lusts - Giving unlimited indulgence to their appetites and passions. See the notes at 2 Peter 3:3.

And their mouth speaketh great swelling words - Notes at 2 Peter 2:18.

Having men's persons in admiration - Showing great respect to certain persons, particularly the rich and the great. The idea is, that they were not "just" in the esteem which they had for others, or that they did not appreciate them according to their real worth, but paid special attention to one class in order to promote their selfish ends.

Because of advantage - Because they hoped to derive some benefit to themselves.

16. murmurers—in secret: muttering murmurs against God's ordinances and ministers in Church and state. Compare Jude 8, "speak evil of dignities"; Jude 15, "hard speeches"; against the Lord.

complainers—never satisfied with their lot (Nu 11:1; compare the penalty, De 28:47, 48).

walking after their own lusts—(Jude 18). The secret of their murmuring and complaining is the restless insatiability of their desires.

great swelling words—(2Pe 2:18).

men's persons—their mere outward appearance and rank.

because of advantage—for the sake of what they may gain from them. While they talk great swelling words, they are really mean and fawning towards those of wealth and rank.

Murmurers, complainers; either these two words signify the same thing; or murmurers may be meant with relation to God’s decrees, laws, providences, and his ordinations in the church or state, 1 Corinthians 10:10; and complainers, with respect to their own condition, with which they were discontented.

Walking after their own lusts; minding neither the law of God nor man, but making their lusts their law, and being wholly subject to them, led by them, 2 Peter 2:10.

And their mouth speaketh great swelling words: though they were mere slaves to their own lusts, yet they would speak big, and use high and exotic strains in their language, that they might be applauded and admired: see 2 Peter 2:18.

Having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage; flattering and magnifying the greater and richer sort of men, not considering what they were, so they could gain them to their party, or get gain by them. These are murmurers,.... That is, at others; secretly, inwardly, in a muttering way, grunting out their murmurs like swine; to which, for their filthiness and apostasy, false teachers may be filly compared: and their murmurs might be both against God and men; against God, against the being of God, denying, or at least wishing there was no God, and uneasy because there is one; against the perfections of God, particularly his sovereignty over all, his special goodness to some, his wisdom, justice, truth, and faithfulness; against his purposes and decrees, both with respect to things temporal, spiritual, and eternal; against the providence of God and his government of the world, and the unequal distribution of things in it; and especially against the doctrines of free grace, and the ordinances of the Gospel: and not only are they murmurers against God, and all divine things and persons, but also against men; particularly against civil magistrates, who restrain them, and are a terror to them; and against the ministers of the Gospel, whose gifts and usefulness they envy; and indeed against all men, their neighbours, and what they enjoy, and at everything that goes besides themselves: it follows,

complainers; some join the above character and this together, and read, as the Vulgate Latin version, "complaining murmurers"; others, as the Syriac version, place not only a comma, but a copulative between them; and as the former may design secret and inward murmuring, this may intend outward complaining in words; not of their own sins and corruptions, nor of the sins of others, with any concern for the honour of religion; or of the decay of powerful godliness in themselves or others; or of the failure of the Gospel, and the decrease of the interest of Christ; but either of God, that he has not made them equal to others in the good things of life, as the Arabic version renders it, "complaining of their own lots"; or that he lays so much affliction upon them more than on others; or of men, that their salaries are not sufficient, and that they are not enough respected according to their merit; and indeed, as the Syriac version reads, "they complain of everything", and are never satisfied and easy:

walking after their own lusts; which are carnal and worldly; see Gill on 2 Peter 3:3,

and their mouth speaketh great swelling words; both against God and men; and this may point at their boast of knowledge, their great ostentation of learning, their vain and empty doctrines, their high flights, their rhetorical style, and bombast language:

having men's persons in admiration because of advantage; crying up men of their own stamp for the advantage of the party; and giving flattering titles to men of wealth and riches, for the sake of their money: so the Ethiopic version, "they studied to please persons, to make gain of them"; they were respecters of persons; so the phrase is used by the Septuagint in Deuteronomy 10:17, and in Job 22:8, and in Proverbs 18:5 and in Isaiah 9:15.

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Jude 1:16. A further description of the false teachers attached to the concluding words of the prophetic saying: τῶν σκληρῶν ὧν ἐλάλησαν κατʼ αὐτοῦ; comp. 2 Peter 2:18-19.

οὗτοί εἰσι] as in Jude 1:10; Jude 1:19 with special emphasis.

γογγυσταί] ἅπ. λεγ. in N. T.; the verb is of frequent occurrence; Oecumenius interprets it: οἱ ὑπʼ ὀδόντα καὶ ἀπαῤῥησιάστως τῷ δυσαρεστουμένῳ ἐπιμεμφόμενοι. Jude does not say against whom they murmur; it is therefore arbitrary to think on it as united to a definite special object as rulers (de Wette), or, still more definitely, ecclesiastical rulers (Estius, Jachmann). Brückner correctly observes that “the idea is not to be precisely limited.” Everything which was not according to their mind excited them to murmuring. The epithet μεμψίμοιροι (ἅπ. λεγ.), dissatisfied with their lot, gives a more precise statement; denoting that they in their pretensions considered themselves entitled to a better lot than that which was accorded to them. The participial clause, κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας αὐτῶν πορευόμενοι, is added to the substantive, which, whilst it unfolds the reason of their dissatisfaction and murmuring, at the same time expresses a kind of contrast: they were dissatisfied with everything but themselves. Calvin: qui sibi in pravis cupiditatibus indulgent, simul difficiles sunt ac morosi, ut illis nunquam satisfiat. The view of Grotius is entirely mistaken, that Jude has here in view the dissatisfaction of the Jews of that period with their political condition.

καὶ τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν λαλεῖ ὑπέρογκα] ὑπέρογκα only here and in the parallel passage, 2 Peter 2:18. Luther: “proud words” (verba tumentia, in Jerom. contra Jovian, Jude 1:24); comp. Daniel 11:36, LXX.: καὶ λαλήσει ὑπέρογκα; such words are meant which proceed from pride, in which man exalts himself, in contrast to the humility of the Christians submitting themselves to God. To this the parallel passage (2 Peter 2:18) also points, where the expression ὑπέρογκα refers to boasting of ἐλευθερία. A participial clause is again added to this assertion, as in the former clause, likewise expressing a kind of contrast: θαυμάζοντες πρόσωπα ὠφελείας χάριν. The expression θαυμάζειν πρόσωπα is in the N. T. ἅπ. λεγ.; in the O. T. comp. Genesis 19:21, LXX.: ἐθαύμασά σου τὸ πρόσωπον; Heb. נָשָׂא פְנֵי; in other passages the LXX. have λαμβάνειν τὸ πρ. In Leviticus 19:15 the LXX. translate נָשָׂא פְנֵי by λαμβ. τὸ πρ.; on the other hand, הָדַר פְּנֵי by θαυμάζειν τὸ πρόσωπον. Whilst in the first passage the friendly attitude of God toward Abraham is expressed, in the second passage it has the bad meaning of partiality. It has also this meaning here: it is to be translated to render admiration to persons (Herder: to esteem; Arnaud: “admirer, honorer”). In this sense θαυμάζειν occurs in Sir 7:29 (comp. Lysias, Orat. 31, where it is said of death: οὔτε γὰρ τοὺς πονηροὺς ὑπερορᾷ, οὔτε τοὺς ἀγαθοὺς θαυμάζει, ἀλλʼ ἶσον ἑαυτὸν παρέχει πᾶσιν). This partial treatment of persons consisted in the flattering homage of those who hoped for some advantage from them, as ὠφελείας χάριν shows. It is unwarranted, with Hofmann, to interpret θαυμάζειν πρόσωπα: “to gratify and to please a person.” Proud boasting and cringing flattery form indeed a contrast, but yet are united together. Calvin: magniloquentiam taxat, quod se ipsos fastuose jactent: sed interea ostendit liberali esse ingenio, quia serviliter se dimittant.

θαυμάζοντες is not parallel with πορευόμενοι, but refers in a loose construction to αὐτῶν; by this construction the thought gains more independence than if θαυμαζόντων were written.

ὠφελείας χάριν] belongs not to the finite verb, but to the participle.Jude 1:16. οὖτοί εἰσιν γογγυσταί, μεμψίμοιροι. Charles thinks that we have here another case of borrowing from the Assumption of Moses, see his Introd. on Apocryphal Quotations. The word γογγυστής is used in the LXX, Exodus 16:8, Numbers 11:1; Numbers 11:14-27; Numbers 11:29. The verb γογγύζω is found in John 7:32 of the whispering of the multitude in favour of Jesus, but is generally used of smouldering discontent which people are afraid to speak out, as in 1 Corinthians 10:10, of the murmurings of the Israelites in the wilderness; Matthew 20:11 (where see Wetst.) of the grumbling of the labourers who saw others receiving a day’s pay for an hour’s labour; John 6:41-43 of the Jews who took offence at the preaching of the Bread of Life. It is found in Epict. and M. Aur. but not in classical authors. γογγυσμός is used in 1 Peter 4:9. See further in Phrynichus, p. 358 Lob. For the word μεμψίμοιρος see Lucian, Cynic. 17, ὑμεῖς δὲ διὰ τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν οὐδενὶ τῶν γιγνομένων ἀρέσκεσθε, καὶ παντὶ μέμφεσθε, καὶ τὰ μὲν παρόντα φέρειν οὐκ ἐθέλετε, τῶν δὲ ἀπόντων ἐφίεσθε, χειμῶνος μὲν θέρος εὐχόμενοι, θέρους δὲ χειμῶνακαθάπερ οἱ νοσοῦντες, δυσάρεστοι καὶ μεμψίμοιροι ὄντες, and Theophr. Char. 17. It is used of the murmuring of the Israelites by Philo, Vit. Mos. 1. 109 M. See other examples in Wetst. The same spirit is condemned in Jam 1:13.

κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας αὐτῶν πορευόμενοι. cf. 2 Peter 3:3; 2 Peter 2:10, below Jude 1:18, and see my notes on Jam 4:1-2. Plumptre notes “The temper of self-indulgence recognising not God’s will, but man’s desires, as the law of action, is precisely that which issues in weariness and despair … cf. Ecclesiastes 2:1-20”.

τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν λαλεῖ ὑπέρογκα. See Enoch Jude 1:4, quoted on Jude 1:15, also Enoch ci. 3, “ye have spoken insolent words against His righteousness,” Psalm 12:4, Psalm 73:8, Daniel 7:8, στόμα λαλοῦν μεγάλα and Jude 1:20 of the little horn; compare above Jude 1:4; Jude 1:8; Jude 1:11, and Jam 3:5 foll. In classical writers ὑπέρογκα is generally used of great or even excessive size, in later writers it is also used of “big” words, arrogant speech and demeanour, see Alford’s note on 2 Peter 2:18 and Plut. Mor. 1119 B (Socrates), τὴν ἐμβροντησίαν ἐκ τοῦ βίου καὶ τὸν τῦφον ἐξήλαυνε καὶ τὰς ἐπαχθεῖς καὶ ὑπερόγκους κατοιήσεις καὶ μεγαλαυχίας, 2 Peter 2:7 A, where ἡ θεατρικὴ καὶ παρατράγῳδος λέξις is styled ὑέρογκος in contrast with ἰσχνὴ λέξις, Plut. Vitae 505 B, τοῦ βασιλέως τὸ φρόνημα τραγικὸν καὶ ὑπέρογκον ἐν ταῖς μεγάλαις εὐτυχίαις ἐγεγόνει. It is found in 2 Peter 2:18 and in Daniel 11:36, ὁ βασιλεὺς ὑψωθήσεται καὶ μεγαλυνθήσεται ἐπὶ πάντα θεόν, καὶ λαλήσει ὑπέρογκα.

θαυμάζοντες πρόσωπα ὠφελίας χάριν.The phrase occurs with the same force in Leviticus 19:15, οὐ μὴ θαυμάσῃς πρόσωπον, Job 13:10, see my note on Jam 2:1, μὴ ἐν προσωπολημψίαις ἔχετε τὴν πίστιν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χ., and cf. 1 Timothy 3:8, quoted above on Jude 1:11. As the fear of God drives out the fear of man, so defiance of God tends to put man in His place, as the chief source of good or evil to his fellows. For the anacoluthon (τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν λαλεῖθαυμάζοντες) compare Colossians 2:2, ἵνα παρακληθῶσιν αἱ καρδίαι ὑμῶν συμβιβασθέντες ἐν εἰρήνῃ, where a similar periphrasis (αἱ καρδίαι ὑμῶν = ὑμεῖς) is followed by a constructio ad sensum, also Winer, p. 716. Perhaps the intrusion of the finite clause into a participial series may be accounted for by a reminiscence of Psalm 17:10, τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν ἐλάλησεν ὑπερηφανίαν, or Psalm 144:8; Psalm 144:11, where a similar phrase occurs.16. These are murmurers, complainers …] The first noun is not found elsewhere in the New Testament, but the use of cognate verbs and nouns in Matthew 20:11; Luke 5:30; 1 Corinthians 10:10; Acts 6:1 and elsewhere, suggests that it refers primarily to the temper of a rebellious murmuring against human authority; in this case, probably, against that of the apostles and other appointed rulers of the Church. The Greek word for “complainers” has a more specific meaning, and means strictly blamers of fate, or, in modern phrase, finding fault with Providence. They took, as it were, a pessimist view of their lot of life, perhaps of the order of the world generally. The same word is used by Philo (Vit. Mos. p. 109) to describe the temper of the Israelites in the wilderness, and appears in the Characters of Theophrastus (c. xvii.) as the type of the extremest form of general discontent, which complains even of the weather.

walking after their own lusts] This stands in connexion with the foregoing as cause and effect. The temper of self-indulgence, recognising not God’s will, but man’s desires, as the law of action, is precisely that which issues in weariness and despair. The Confessions of the Preacher present the two elements often in striking combination (Ecclesiastes 2:1-20).

their mouth speaketh great swelling words] For the latter words and what they imply, see notes on 2 Peter 2:18.

having men’s persons in admiration] Literally, admiring persons. The phrase, which is a somewhat stronger form of the more familiar “accepting persons” (James 2:1; Galatians 2:6; Matthew 22:16) occurs in the LXX. of Genesis 19:21; Leviticus 19:15. The temper characterised is that which fawns as in wondering admiration on the great, while all the time the flatterer is simply seeking what profit he can get out of him whom he flatters.Jude 1:16. Γογγυσταὶ, murmurers) against men.—μεμψίμοιροι, complainers) against God.—πορευόμενοι, walking) with respect to themselves, Jude 1:18.—θαυμάζοντες πρόσωπα) having men’s persons in admiration. So the Septuagint translates נשא פנים and הדר פנים, on either side [either in a bad or a good sense].Verse 16. - As in 2 Peter 2:18, 19, the men are further stigmatized for the gross and profane selfishness to which they gave vent in speech. The present verse enlarges on the particular vice which the writer adds to the more general statement given in the Book of Enoch - the vice of uttering hard things against God. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. The words rendered "murmurers" and "complainers" occur nowhere else in the New Testament. It is doubtful whether any clear distinction can be drawn between them, except that the former term is the more general, and the latter the more specific, expressing one particular direction which the murmuring spirit takes, namely, that of discontent with their circumstances (so Huther, etc.). The clause, "walking after their own lusts," then declares the secret cause of their discontent. They made themselves, their own notions of things, their own ambitions and appetites, the one rule of their life. They therefore judged the lot which was assigned them by God unworthy of them and railed against it. We may gather from the parallel passage in 2 Peter that they forswore in especial the restraints put upon them by the providence or by the grace of God, and asserted a liberty which meant unbridled self-indulgence. The arrogant selfishness which refused to be fettered by Divine law naturally expressed itself also in "great swelling words," in loud protestations, perhaps, that nothing should interfere with their liberty. The phrase (which in the New Testament occurs again only in 2 Peter 2:18) is the same as is rendered "speak marvelous things" in Daniel's description of the king who "shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods," etc. (Daniel 11:36, 37). In the last clause we have a phrase similar to, but not quite the same as, the one which usually expresses the idea of having respect of persons. The Authorized Version, therefore, seems to do better than the Revised Version here in adopting a rendering which indicates that there is some difference from the usual form. The point of this difference may be that Jude's phrase expresses not merely the partial and unprincipled conduct which is one thing to the poor and another to the rich, but the open and unconcealed adulation with which these men hung upon those to whom it might be of advantage to attach themselves. The proud repudiation of the submission which was due to God and the Divine disposal of their lot was accompanied by a cringing, unblushing submission of their manhood to those of their fellow-men who had favours to bestow. Arrogance and servility are near of kin. The boaster is half-brother to the parasite. Murmurers (γογγυσταὶ)

Only here in New Testament. Doubtless, originally, with some adaptation of sound to sense, gongustai. It is used of the cooing of doves.

Complainers (μεμψίμοιροι)

From μέμφομαι, to find fault with, and μοῖρα, a part or lot. Lit., blamers of their lot.

Great swelling words

See on 2 Peter 2:18.

Having men's persons in admiration (θαυμάζοντες πρόσωπα)

The Rev., shewing respect of persons, is neater, but the A. V. more literal: admiring the countenances. Compare Genesis 19:21, Sept., "I have accepted thee:" lit., have admired thy face.

Because of advantage

See 2 Peter 2:3, 2 Peter 2:14.

Beloved

Compare Jde 1:3.

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